11 July 2024

He was once one of Thailand’s most celebrated boxing heroes and, undoubtedly, one of the richest as well.  But 22 years after clinching the first boxing gold medal in the Olympic Games that brought him both fame and wealth, Somrak Kamgsinh is now sinking in a pool of debts and is on the verge of bankruptcy.

Somrak definitely is needing all the help he can get to get through his biggest life crisis.

And it was Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan who had to step in to offer a helping hand – not as a powerful figure in the ruling military junta, but as president of the Thai Olympic Committee.

A well-informed source close to Gen Prawit said the deputy prime minister regards Somrak as a national sports hero who had brought fame to the country and deserves to be helped when in troubles.

Somrak won a boxing gold medal in the featherweight class at the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996.  And for him and his family, things had been rosy until they decided to go into business.

Somrak and his wife were sued by Bangkok Assets Management Company in the Bankruptcy Court for having incurred about four million baht in debt from their loss-ridden petrol station’s business in the northeastern province of Chaiyaphum.

Earlier this week, an announcement was published in the Royal Gazette, saying that the couple’s assets have been placed under receivership.  On Tuesday, officials of the Legal Execution Department asked Somrak for a meeting with his creditor at the department for talks to mediate a debt settlement, but the former boxing hero turned down the officer, saying he would fight the case in the Bankruptcy Court.

Somrak said that the debt stemmed from his petrol station business which went belly up.  He claimed that he knew little about business and unwittingly signed several official documents whose contents he didn’t comprehend.

The source said Gen Prawit has ordered both the Thai Olympic Committee and the Thai Boxing Association to explore ways to help Somrak.

Somrak, as boastful as he has always been, declared that he would be able to handle the debts problem himself and would not need help from others.

“I have been getting offers of help but have turned them down because I don’t want to burden other people with my problem,” said Somrak who is currently a captain in the Royal Thai Navy.